Pakistan Custom concedes provisional release of pharmaceutical ingredient

KARACHI:- Pakistan Custom authorities, Wednesday conceded release of pharmaceutical active ingredient imported by Zafa Pharmaceuticals Limited pending a decision by the Drug Regulatory Authority.

Sindh High Court (SHC) bench comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Junaid Ghaffar after the assurance by Kashif Nazeer advocate, counsel for respondent Collector Customs, East and West adjourned the hearing until December 09, 2015 while again issuing notice to the Ministry of Commerce and Director General, Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA).

Earlier the counsel for petitioner importer said that nine consignments have been stuck up at the port and while no certification is required under the law, the release of imported goods was being delayed which has caused the closure of the company.

The bench agreed tentatively with the contention of the counsel for petitioner that no basis exists for detaining the imported chemicals, the import of which is a routine and never in past such a practice was followed.

The petitioner maintains that they are one of the five manufacturers of “pharmaceutical active ingredient” used as raw material for manufacture of medicines. The other two types of manufacturers are “repacking industry” which imports finished medicines in bulk and repack them in retail packs and “Formulators”. The petitioner maintains that their produce pharmaceutical active ingredients are used by Formulators as allopathic raw material. According to them, their consignment was detained by Customs who asked them to obtain a clearance certificate from DRA. Earlier always-custom authorities released the consignments. The import of Pharmaceutical raw material is dealt by Import Policy Order, Drug Act 1976 and Drug (Import and Export) Rules 1976. The imports by the petitioner are thus not hit by the above rules and order yet custom officials are denying the release.

The court was prayed to direct the respondent custom authorities not to create illegal hurdles in the release of imported consignments and to restrain them from detaining imported goods in future.

The bench today after detailed hearing agreed to the contentions by Zafa Pharmaceuticals but to afford a fair opportunity to respondents adjourned further hearing till Dec 09 directing the parties to filed comments, rejoinders and any other related documents with copies to each other as petition will be heard and decided on next date of hearing.

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